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Maquette for Ventana al Pacifico (for U.S. Courthouse, Portland, Oregon)

ca. 1988 Manuel Neri Born: Sanger, California 1930 plaster relief 30 1/4 x 24 x 10 in. (76.8 x 61.0 x 25.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the General Services Administration, Art-in-Architecture Program © 1989, Manuel Neri 1994.84.5 Not currently on view

Luce Center Quote

“I think in many ways my work is about emotional survival and despite enormous obstacles, the endurance of the human spirit.” Manuel Neri, quoted in Corcoran Night & Day, March/April 1997

Luce Center Label

The General Services Administration commissioned Manuel Neri to create a sculpture for the U.S. Courthouse in Portland. The title of this piece translates as “window on the Pacific.” The act of working the plaster captures the artist’s touch, which in turn emphasizes the gestures of his subject. On the front of this piece, a man and a woman face each other. Both have their heads cast downward, and we cannot read their expressions. The woman appears to move forward, and extends her right arm, perhaps to shake hands. The man at first appears to stride confidently toward the woman, yet he holds his arms behind his back, suggesting that he does not want to engage with her. The distance between the two creates tension and a sense of isolation. Are they strangers or do they know one another? Will they meet in the middle or pass on by? Our questions are answered on the rear of the piece, where the woman stands alone.


Figure group

Figure - fragment

Figure - full length

Study - sculpture model

sculpture - maquette


About Manuel Neri

Born: Sanger, California 1930

More works in the collection by
Manuel Neri